Soccer: US Women's National Team clinches CWOQ semifinal spot with win over Panama
HOUSTON, TX -- The U.S. Women’s National Team earned their 20th all-time Olympic qualifying win with an 8-0 win over Panama at BBVA Stadium on Friday night. The U.S. moves to 2-0-0 in Group A, putting them at the top of the standings with six points, ahead of Costa Rica on Goal Differential.
As the USWNT continues to adjust to new head coach Vlatko Andonovski, one thing remains the same, this team can still light up the scoreboard. As over 14,000 fans expected them to do, the USWNT got off to a fast start against Panama. After nearly scoring in the first minute of the game, Lindsey Horan opened the scoring in the third minute. Horan got on the end of a loose ball in the box and slammed home the shot off the keeper’s body to send the Houston crowd into an early frenzy.
Panama’s keeper Yenith Bailey was dealing with an injury that kept her down for a few moments. After the trainers checked her out and play resumed, she was quickly greeted with the skill of Lynn Williams, who rounded her and finished into an open net for the game’s second goal in the 15th minute. Rose Lavelle and Lindsay Horan would add two more before halftime to send the U.S. into the locker room with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The second half began with the south side of the stadium being allergic to goals. The USWNT continued to pressure Panama’s defense but couldn’t find the right combination to unlock the fifth goal. That changed when Christen Press entered the game. Press came on for Megan Rapinoe in the 61st minute, nine minutes later she was sending a beautifully headed ball over the keeper to reignite the team’s goal-scoring firepower.
In the 72nd and 78th minute, Jessica McDonald and Tobin Heath supplied some casual finishing to raise the score to 7-0. Then, in the 81st minute, Lindsay Horan scored her third of the night to earn her first career hat trick and helped USWNT match their first-half total of four goals.
The win clinches a spot in the CWOQ semifinals and USWNT will have a chance to win Group A on Monday against Costa Rica.